New In Obvious Apple Patents: The Page Turn Technology In An E-Reader Application

By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 20, 2012 09:09 AM EST

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Apple is renowned for its aggressive approach to patents, and the Cupertino giant has now added another patent to its trove: turning digital pages.

This week, the United States Patent Office (USPTO) has approved Apple's patent for skeumorphic virtual page turning, which means that fans of the technology had better own an iOS device.

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According to the New York Times, Apple's new patent D670,713, titled "Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface" grants the Cupertino giant exclusive rights to the page turn technology in an e-reader application.

In other words, as crazy as it may sound, Apple now owns the page turn technology. While the mere gesture of turning a page has been used since the beginning of time (well, he beginning of books, actually) in the physical version, and it's even featured in animations and cartoons, Apple now owns the "interface."

In its defense, Apple argued that its patented page turn doesn't have anything like it. More specifically, it had a special type of animation that other page-turn applications had been unable to create, which makes it unique and worthy of a patent.

The patent comes with three illustrations to detail how the very-special page-turn algorithm works. In Figure 1, the corner of a page folds over from the bottom left corner. The page turns a little more in Figure 2, and then a little more in Figure 3. Outstanding.

On the other hand, as the New York Times points out, this page-turning patent is not even the most obvious patent Apple has gained in recent years. The Cupertino giant has several other obvious patents, such as an icon for music, which simply illustrates a musical note, the packaging of its iPhone. In fact, Apple even has a patent for the glass staircase used in its stores, which consists of nothing more than stairs that people walk up.

The patent for the unique page-turning algorithm is one of the 38 patents Apple was granted this week. Other patents recently added to the company's trove include a "Skin tone aware color boost for cameras," "Location-based categorical information services," and a "Consistent backup of electronics information."

The page-turn patent lists three investors - Elizabeth Caroline Cranfill, Stephen Lemay, and Mikio Inose, and was filed with the USPTO back in December 2011.

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